EDUCATION IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE 89 undecided in the matter. All their lives through they struggled vainly to reconcile the claims of scholarship and piety, and never succeeded in escaping from the prevailing confusion of mind with regard to the place of literature and rhetoric in life. The case of Jerome (331-420), the ablest scholar of his century, is peculiarly instructive. In his youth he studied rhetoric and philosophy at Rome under the distinguished grammarian Donatus, whose Grammar was one of the standard textbooks of the Middle Ages. From Rome he went to Gaul to study theology, and there got the call to a new life. When over forty, he resolved to cut himself off from the world, and betook himself to the deserts of Syria. But even in his solitude he had his books with him, and his remorse for his sins found mitigation in the perusal of the classics. " Wretched man that I was 1 I fasted and I read Cicero. After passing sleepless nights and shedding bitter tears at the thought of my sins, I took up Plautus. If at times I came back to myself and tried to read the Prophets, the simple careless style in which they were written repelled me at once."* It was at this time that he had his famous dream. He dreamed that he had died and had been haled before the great Judge. Falling on his face, overwhelmed by the brightness of the vision, he attempted to justify himself by saying that he was a Christian, only to hear the dreadful reply : " It is false. You are a Cicer- onian. Where your treasure is, there also is your heart." Hence- forward, he ceased to read the profane authors and urged others to follow his example. But his renunciation was never more than half-hearted. In the very letter in which he laments his former devotion to rhetoric and condemns all his memories of the scholastic learning, he lapses into quotations from Themistocles> Plato, Isocrates, Pythagoras, Dej&ocritus, Xenocrates, Zeno, Cleanthes, and the poets Homer, Hesiod, Simonides, Stesichorus, and Sophocles ; and when he founded a monastery in Bethlehem twelve years later, he included in the course of instruction he gave the boys who attended his school, grammar and classical authors such as Plautus, Terence, and, above all, Virgil. Clearly, it was impossible for the Church to get any guidance from Jerome with regard to education. To teach boys the classics, and advise men to forget them, as he did, involved a contradiction too obvious to permit either his precepts or his practice to have any real influence. * Epistles> p. 35.